Better Oral Health in Unfluoridated Portland
(and How They Spun It)
"Children in the Portland metropolitan area have less untreated tooth decay, are less likely to have ever had a cavity and are less likely to need urgent dental treatment." Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS)
DHS and the Associated Press coverage failed to mention that Portland's drinking water was not fluoridated.
In contrast, a pro-fluoridation newspaper did say that "Portland is the largest city in the United States that does not fluoridate its water," but failed to mention that Portland had better oral health, even though the editors used the survey to validate their belief that "were fluoridation more widespread in Oregon, the 2007 Oregon Smile Survey might actually contain something to smile about." (Require Fluoridation, Bend Bulletin, 20 Nov 2007)
Citing Oregon's worsening dental health (not mentioning it's worsening nationwide), the editors question whether Oregon is "really part of a developed, first-world country" and calling it a "population of public-health Luddites," because Oregon is one of the least fluoridated states. (Fluoridate Already, 25 Apr 2008)
If that editorial board thinks Oregonians are public-health Luddites, then they must think Swedes are downright Neanderthals, because Sweden outlawed water fluoridation in 1980, thanks in large part to Dr. Arvid Carlsson. This winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Medicine said water fluoridation is an obsolete practice that's "against all principles of modern pharmacology."
Conspicuously absent from the Oregon 2007 Smile Survey was any evidence of the centerpiece of the fluoridation sales pitch. No reduction in kids' cavities were reported for artificially fluoridated Salem, Beaverton, or Corvallis.
Also missing was evidence of less tooth decay in children living in any of Oregon's 35 communities whose water systems have levels of natural (calcium) fluoride considered optimal for protecting teeth.
What Oregon's Smile Survey did reveal was that low-income children and those without dental insurance had poorer oral health and less access to care. This is the same (and worsening) situation across the nation.
Chart prepared by Dr. Bill Osmunson